Wednesday, 22 September 2010

Lundy Vol. I

Day 0:

After many months of eager anticipation, and a typically last-minute packing fervour, Julie and Andy arrived at my house and we were ready to roll. The drive from Sheffield to Bideford went astonishingly quickly, interrupted only by some apparently terrible burgers from a mysterious generic fast food outlet (I was spared these by having eaten before we departed), and 4 ½ hours later we pulled into a picnic area just outside Bideford. Andy boldly/foolishly declared the rain to be no more than some dense cloud, and set out in his bivvy bag, whilst Julie and I made ourselves as comfortable as could be in the car (which was still spectacularly uncomfortable).

Day 1:

Having been awake on and off for most of the night, it came as quite a relief when the appointed hour came and we motored on to Bideford. After pumping the car park ticket machine with our own bodyweight in loose change we wandered down the front to the MS Oldenburg, deposited our bags for loading and went questing in vain for tea. With Myself, Andy, Julie, James, Chris and Dan all accounted for 45 minutes before departures there was still no sign of Si and Claire (the final members of Team Safe), so I rang them and woke them up. Evidently Simon's car is substantially more bedlike than mine. After a brief panic we were reunited and soon adopted our customary spot at the back of the boat as we set off on the high seas. The skies were grey and brooding and the sea state described as ominously 'moderate'. Mercifully we were spared the full wrath of Neptune (although Andy did look a bit peaky at times) and arrived safely on Lundy with the weather beginning to look a little more promising.

In search of some easy access climbing, several of us made our way to the Battery and headed down to the base of Flying Buttress. After a bit of grumpy old man ab-rope faffery, Claire and I were soon at the bottom and setting off up the rather ace Horseman's Route, which made for a very pleasant reminder of how Granite works. Claire then bullied me shamelessly into an attempt on Double Diamond. An HVS (eek) on a slab (double eek). Luckily the 5b start was wet, so I skirted that, and remarkably soon, with a minimum of smearing and terror (which are broadly the same thing) I was stood on some big holds near the top in a traffic jam. Very rudely two separate parties had decided to start pitches which crossed mine, whilst I was already en route. Eventually my courtesy gave way (in direct proportion to how much my feet hurt) and I just ploughed on regardless. Somehow this wasn't enough to dissuade yet another leader from setting out across my ropes whilst I was trying to take in at the top. Alas Lundy isn't immune from climbing fuckwittery it would seem.

Next on the agenda Claire fancied a go at Capuccino, a fun VS which we chased Dan and Simon up, and then Claire and Si decided to retire to the campsite, so Mr Money and myself decided to have a go at the VS 5a direct start to Horseman's Route. Alas the tide had other ideas and was washing the crucial boulder with distressing regularity, so we switched our objective to Diamond Crack. This turned out to be a steep little bugger, which only gave up with a bit of a fight (and no small amount of 5a moves), so by the time I was at the top I was pooped and ready for tea, and thence beer in the Marisco Tavern. It was a delight to reacquaint myself with the pleasures of Old Light Ale, and I feel asleep full of excitement about the potential adventures the rest of the week might bring.

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